The Dean’s Diversity Initiative (DDI) serves as the committee arm of the GSD’s ongoing efforts. The faculty, staff, students and alumni of the DDI are tasked with increasing the number of underrepresented minorities within our community and maintaining an inclusive environment that encourages an active and effective exchange of views.
Beyond internal efforts, the DDI hosts an annual open discussion at Alumni Weekend and convenes the Dean’s Diversity Summit, inviting outside experts to work with the DDI to shape its approach.
One of the DDI’s most pressing concerns is the active recruitment of African-American, Latino, and Native American students, populations that are critically underrepresented in the fields of architecture and landscape architecture. As a result of focused efforts, the number of African-American students at the GSD has nearly tripled since 2009, and the number of Native American students has more than doubled in the same time frame. More Latino students were admitted in 2013 than any class before – nearly triple the amount admitted in 2009.
The GSD participates in a number of programs dedicated to expanding access and outreach to prospective minority students. These activities include:
- Attending the annual National Organization of Minority Architects conference
- Participating in the Graduate Horizons program, a weeklong biannual graduate school preparatory program for Native American students
- The annual Ivy League and Friends visit to the Choctaw Nation
- Working with the American Indian Graduate Center to help students find funding for graduate school
- Visiting the Institute for American Indian Arts (IAIA), students from which have attended our Career Discovery Program (now Design Discovery: Harvard GSD)
Using the expertise and resources of its members, the DDI compiled lists of potential women and minority candidates for faculty appointments, lectures, and juries. It then submitted a formal faculty recruitment proposal to the Dean, which has influenced recruitment policies since. In the past academic year, these policies have added four new African-American members to the GSD faculty. In addition, 35 jurors of color were invited and attended studio and thesis reviews.
The GSD has made significant gains toward diversifying our staff, and the Human Resources Office is committed to making visible and continuous progress. Since January 2013, we have hired eight minority men and women to staff positions. Strategies in our recruitment practices include:
- Partnerships with and participation in professional development events with organizations that serve diverse populations
- Working collaboratively with hiring managers to conduct outreach with the goal of attracting a diverse pool of candidates
- Participation in the HUCTW School-to-Work program and the Harvard summer teen employment program
While we celebrate our achievements, we recognize the important ongoing work that remains. The GSD must continue its commitment to ensuring equity and advancement through the academic and professional ranks of its best faculty and staff through mentoring, training and support programs, and the strategic management of career transitions.